Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Abe Adminstration: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Some day - and the days are getting shorter - when the Abe Cabinet is only a fond memory, the Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association (what, no reporters?) will erect on their premises a shrine with the Abe Administration as the deity; and to which, on a particularly slow news day, they will gather to pray: Oh great god of political scandal, please render unto us a minister, a vice minister, anyone, anything, to spare us from the shame of soiling the tops of our front pages with the latest five-year MAFF proposal for subsidizing Japanese turnip farmers with less than 2/5 hectares in non-rice paddy acreage. And their wish shall be granted.

The latest beneficence has been incarnated in the form of Dr. Ichiro Kamoshita, M.D., who, according to Shisaku, "can't count". The powers that be want to play it as a "mistake", which under my Rule 2 is not a take-one-step-back card. Prime Minster Abe agrees with me. With my Rule 2, that is. He does seem to reserving judgment until he sees the public response. Which is par for the course for him.

In Shinto, anything can be deified, a rock, a river, an umbrella, traitor to the Emperor, whatever. In fact, there's an old Japanese saying that used to be inscribed on one of a set of Edo Era playing cards: "Iwashi no atama mo shinjin kara", or: "Even something trivial as the head of a sardine can be an object of worship".

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